Police in the UK are searching for a man suspected of carrying out an acid attack on a mother and her two young children
The chemical attack on a woman and her two young children in south-west London last week highlighted a growing trend of serious assaults involving corrosive materials in the UK over the past few years, data has shown.
A manhunt is underway for the suspected attacker, Abdul Yazidi, 35, following the incident in Clapham last Wednesday, which left 12 people injured. A 31-year-old woman and her two young daughters, aged eight and three, remain in hospital, and the mother's injuries were described as… “Life changes.”
On Sunday, London Police released new information about the alkali used in the attack, saying laboratory tests revealed it was either liquid sodium hydroxide or liquid sodium carbonate – chemicals that can easily be purchased online or from specialist hardware stores.
Data released by the UK-based charity Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI), a non-profit organization that seeks to highlight such incidents globally, showed that the UK has the highest number of recorded acid attacks in the world.
In 2022, ASTI recorded 710 cases of assaults with a corrosive substance, an increase of 69% from the 421 cases the previous year. ASTI data shows that acid attacks peaked in 2017, with a total of 941 cases. Data for 2023 has not yet been published, although the NHS said it had a total of 82 hospital admissions between 2022 and 2023 due to injuries caused by the corrosive chemical.
“Due to its nature, the effects of an acid attack result in immediate and agonizing pain, and the injuries cause life-altering disabilities.” Asti said.
ASTI notes that attacks using chemicals have traditionally been linked to gang violence in the UK, but its latest data from 2022 reflects that women are now being targeted more often than men. He added: “This indicates high rates of violence against women and girls.” ASTI said on its website.
The UK strengthened its laws governing dangerous chemicals in 2022, adding measures to the Assault Weapons Act 2019 to impose restrictions on the purchase of such substances. Possession of a dangerous chemical in a public place is punishable by up to four years in prison, under this legislation.
It was already a serious offense under the UK's Offenses Against the Person Act 1861 to use a corrosive substance to inflict bodily harm. This offense can result in a maximum penalty of life imprisonment in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You can share this story on social media: